The Impact of Local Government Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as Citizen Relationship Management

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Several years ago, the State of Illinois decided to release 2000 prison inmates. Within 24 hours a bunch of them proceeded to “rape and pillage” the city. The local government needed a scapegoat, a bunch of lawyers were brought in and where did they decide to place the blame? The computer systems! They were using an old IDMS database built in the 1980s. The verdict was that the decision makers simply did not have enough data on the inmates, so they chose the wrong ones to release.Herbert Quinden, then the CIO of the Illinois Department of Corrections related during a Convergence 2013 interview: “We had 43 different applications that needed to be correlated in order to make a decision. Corrections is about public safety and public safety is about decision support. You need information to make good decisions.”

The State of Illinois Department of Corrections no longer has this problem. After evaluating more than 20 industry specific niche vertical software packages, they instead chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Herbert Quinden, now the Chief of IT Policy and Planning for the State of Illinois is a raving fan of Microsoft Dynamics CRM – a tool he uses as his “Citizen Relationship Management System”. He believes they are the largest enterprise customer to move to the cloud and take advantage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Quinden emphatically stated: “There is not a single process government does at the local or federal level that should not be on Dynamics CRM.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps the State of Illinois to track their relationships with their citizens, from contact info all the way down to the fishing licenses citizens have. This is not about big brother monitoring; it is about building relationships and better serving the community. For example, the local government can track and analyze how health and human services dollars are used, thus helping to insure that the right people are getting the assistance they need.

The same is true for the Department of Corrections. “They may be in prison, but they are still people; they still have constitutional rights. There are also the officers, the people that run the business that is corrections, and they need to be protected. The best way to protect them, and the citizens, and the people inside the prisons, is to the have the type of information you need as quickly as you need it from all the resources and be able to make decisions based on behavior and recent activities.” Says Quinden. Now they have that information and it can be tracked in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. When decisions need to be made that impact public safety, they can be made quickly with accurate data.

Quinden feels that social media is important for government too. The government always struggles to interact with the public. Social media monitoring and communication can be a valuable way to strengthen relationships and hear the voice of the people. He feels strongly that citizens must demand that government agencies catch up with technology.

When asked what he felt would be his top piece of advice for 2014 he commented, “Make Dynamics CRM ubiquitous throughout the organization. CRM should be viewed as the missing piece in the (Microsoft) Office suite.”

This commitment is no doubt what helped The State of Illinois Department of Corrections to be chosen for the 2013 Customer Excellence Award for Industry Excellence in the Public Sector. This award recognizes an organization that has achieved measureable success in a Public organization through the use of Microsoft Dynamics.

Other state and local governments, and public center organizations, can certainly learn from their example of excellence.

By Anya Ciecierski, CRM Software Blog Editor,

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